The Pastime

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Don’t look now, but baseball season begins today.

I had previously said during my 2018 Predictions that I thought this was going to be a good year for the Yankees and the Dodgers, and I stick to those two clubs for my World Series forecast. Three other teams worth keeping an eye on would be the Red Sox, the Cubbies, and the defending titleholders, the Houston Astros.

Locally here in Tampa Bay, it could be a long campaign with all these matchups with Boston and the Yankees. It’ll be a good year for the Rays if they complete 2018 at the .500 mark of 81 wins and 81 losses.

Best of success to all 30 organizations, and may the best team hold the prize sometime in late October or early November.

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The Purge In Raysville

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Tropicana Field’s days seem numbered. Here’s a photo I took of the Trop back in 2016.

The front office of the Tampa Bay Rays will deny it, but it’s getting kind of obvious there’s a fire sale going on with the Bay Area’s baseball team. Evan Longoria’s departure to San Francisco’s Giants was a bit expected, but no one seemed to expect the “purge” of Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi, and Stephen Sousa Jr. to separate ball clubs.

This is a club and an ownership that desperately wants out of the outdated Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, that’s for sure. The club has pitched the idea of moving to a new indoor stadium that would be built in Ybor City (a historic part of Tampa on its southeast side) that would have the look of an outdoor arena, such as the new stadium recently built for the Minnesota Vikings.

Absent that idea becoming reality and the $700-million bare minimum it would take to build the stadium there, I think the Rays would move elsewhere in the next decade. Las Vegas? San Antonio? Montreal? Portland, Oregon? Northern New Jersey? Who knows?

I’d like to see the Rays stay in Pinellas County, but that’s a ship that has apparently sailed already. Keeping the team in Tampa Bay should now be the top priority, even if that means the small move over to Tampa. But with all of these trades taking place in such short order, I kind of wonder if the ownership of the club wants to move the franchise to another city by decimating what’s left of its fan base.

The New York Rays

One of the things that came from Hurricane Irma was that the sports calendar and map got shuffled around. That’s quite understandable of course, because you don’t want to risk the health and safety of fans, players, or the structure of these facilities hosting the events.

Tropicana Field hosted a three game series between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers while Houston was flooded by Hurricane Harvey. When it looked like our area was going to get Irma, MLB moved the series where the Rays were going to host the New York Yankees.

I understand the logistical nightmares moving games around can be, and I don’t think that’s an easy operation by any means. But having the Rays host games at Citi Field where the Mets play is embarrassing. It’s basically giving the Yankees three more home games where their fans will come out in droves.

I get that there are times that games can’t always be played at neutral facilities, but come on. Baseball could have made something positive out of all of this, but instead chose to gave one of its prized teams an advantage that could make the difference as to whether or not they make the playoffs.

Language Barrier

Perhaps I should have known something was wrong earlier on in the evening.

Friday night, I'm watching the Rays game with Texas. I'm also on the computer which sits to the right of my TV in the bedroom, which prevents me from noticing the ore-game show has no sound. I don't have the TV on mute, so there should be sound.

I do some chores and get back to the game at about 7:30. Now there's audio, but it's in Spanish. Again, I'm not generally concerned about it, so I fiddle around on the computer some more. I know the Spanish announcers will go into some high pitched exclamations if something good happens, plus it could be some sort of technical issue on the broadcasters end.

Midway through the game, it's still in Spanish. Now I'm thinking its something wrong on my end. I pour through the various audio settings, and restore settings to their defaults. BOOM! There's the voice of Dewayne Staats calling balls and strikes.

Somehow, my TV had found and switched over to the SAP audio channel. Don't know how it happened, but it did. Weird.

Raysvolution

Can’t help but notice how good are local team has been playing as of late. As of the end of play Tuesday night past, the Rays are 51-44, two games behind Boston for the lead in the AL East, and would get the first of two wildcard spots if the season ended there. 

Notice that I’m not using the right letter word beginning with P just yet. There are 67 games left in the regular season, so a lot can and probably will happen. 

The one thing I’m noticing that has me optimistic is this team is gaining confidence, especially since taking three out of four from the Red Sox recently. Belief is important when the best teams lose 60 times a year. 

Hoping there’s something good ahead, but we baseball fans are a superstitious bunch. Let’s not get overhyped. 

Twin Bill

In a couple of days, Tampa Bay and Oakland’s baseball teams play two games against each other in the same day. 

Two things make this doubleheader unusual. One, the games will take place back to back, with a half hour break between the games. These days, doubleheaders are usually played with a game in the early afternoon and a game at night, so that teams can charge separate admissions for each game. 

The other unusual part of this attraction Saturday is that this was a scheduled doubleheader, not something done for inclement weather. Plus, this is only the second such event at Tropicana Field, because usually domed stadiums prevent weather from interfering with the game. 

It’ll be interesting how well this regularly scheduled doubleheader draws. Tropicana usually holds 30,000 for baseball, though it can 40,000 if there is demand for it. If it draws well, maybe this becomes a yearly attraction. 

Let The Show Begin

Always good to see Dewayne and BA behind the microphone. April 2, 2017.


The older I get, the more appreciation I have for the game of baseball, and those who play it. It is the one sport that spans the ages like no other sport.

Yesterday the 2017 campaign got underway, with the Tampa Bay Rays getting the honor of playing the seasons lid lifter against the treacherous Yankees of New York. 

The Rays prevailed 7-3, with Evan Longoria claiming the first RBI, then the first home run of the season. 

Welcome back, baseball. I think I missed you a bit.